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August 1, 2006

Jim Furyk


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Jim Furyk for dropping in to the 2006 Buick Open media center.

Warwick Hills because been kind to you. Of course, your victory here in 2003, five consecutive Top 10s. It's a place you seem to kind of call home almost.

JIM FURYK: Well, I do enjoy coming here and playing the golf course. When I'm playing well, it suits my game. It's tight off the tee, you have to hit the ball off the fairway or and you're going to be left with a lot of short irons into the green when you put the ball in the fairway. That style lends itself to my game when I'm playing well. My strengths are hitting fairways and making up shots when I have a wedge from 120 yards in. You know, it fits my eye well and playing well, I think it really suits my game.

TODD BUDNICK: Talking about your game, you had a nice finish there at the British Open a couple of weeks ago, back to back Top 10s in majors, your game has really come to form this year.

JIM FURYK: It's been a good year. I think after the injury in 2004, last year was solid, and I felt like I was back to 100% health and I had a really good year last year. It's always going to get compared to 2003 when I had my best year of my career. This year has been the same and better. I really feel comfortable with my game.

What I was disappointed with was in 2005 really was I didn't contend or play well in major tournaments but I seemed to play well everywhere else. I wanted to focus on playing better in the majors this year, second in the U.S. Open and fourth at the British, so my form has been in good shape. Hoping to finish the year strong.

At the British, I did a good job getting ready and playing over there. Probably one of the reasons I tended to play so well in this tournament. I'm still pretty mad at myself. Came here with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and wanted to play well. So I tended to play poorly there, and come back home and really work hard and get ready for this event.

But it was nice to go over there and play well again. I started out on Sunday pretty poorly but brought it home good with 4 under on the back side. Tiger just got out front and didn't give up the lead for any of us to put any pressure on him.

Q. Four of the five top money winners are here this week, what does it matter, or what does it mean to you to have such a strong field? Does it mean something?

JIM FURYK: I think we would all, you know, we all want to play against the best competition. But I don't really I think I choose this event because I like the golf course and it suits my game well. I've had successes here in the past. To come here and see that the field is good is a bonus. We all want to compete against the best players as much as we can but we really don't know what the field is going to be like. Historically some events have strong fields and we know typically they are going to have pretty strong fields.

But, you know, some years I've been here and it seems like a lot of articles written were about the field wasn't as strong as it's been in the past. Other years, it's a great field and everyone is excited about it. As a player, there's not much you can do about that. So we let you all kind of worry about it.

This is an event that I enjoy playing, so I wish for them to get a good field. But whether it's strong or not or how everyone wants to rank them, we still have to go out and prepare our game and get ready for the golf course.

Q. You've always been known as a tough battler, competitor, fighter. Chris DiMarco is being looked at the same way, especially coming off what he did in the British Open and now he's gone toe to toe with Tiger. Can you talk about what he's proven, especially coming off what he was going through this summer?

JIM FURYK: Well, you know, I've gotten to know Chris pretty well, I've met a lot of his brothers and dad and his family a little bit and we know what happened with his mom dying suddenly. It was terrible for the family and we all feel bad for the DiMarco family. They are really a close knit bunch. They all live very close to each other in Orlando and have each other to fall back on but it's a tough thing to go through.

As far as what he proved, he didn't really have to prove anything. Everyone's known for a long time that he's a tough competitor. He's a guy you want to rely on in the clutch. Just go back to last year's Presidents Cup and the big putt he made on 18; he's a gutsy player and a guy that you would want hitting that putt. I don't think he had to prove anything. But you know, I just feel badly for the family because I care for them a lot and I really think it's a wonderful family.

Q. What does that do for your confidence out there and does every player have a course like this where they tend to play a lot better than maybe some others?

JIM FURYK: I think there's places I've played through my career where I haven't a couple courses I don't think are bad courses but I haven't played very well at them. I tend to leave those off my schedule and try to go back to there's about five to ten courses that I really feel comfortable on and this is one of them. I think everyone gets those feelings, whether it's, you know, the whole fit your eye or the course lends itself to your style of game, or just playing well there in the past. You know, there's just a lot of different reasons. Maybe it's similar to a course you grew up on. I grew up in the northeast, so playing on bentgrass, I'm not as comfortable maybe in Florida on bermuda this time of year. The grass is similar, the golf course is similar to what I grew up on. It could be a number of different things. I think that's a big part on Tour of how everyone picks their schedule.

Q. You've always played well here, and the strength of the field does that add to it, as well?

JIM FURYK: Well, it is, but I like when I look at courses I want to play or places I want to play, I look at the golf courses I feel I have the best chance to compete on. I look at the past strength of field. You know, it's no coincidence that usually the biggest tournaments with the best fields also seem to have pretty big purses. You kind of pick and choose.

But it's really not a tremendous driving factor, and strength of field for us isn't a driving factor whether you play it or not because you're never quite sure who is committing to the event. I always show up Tuesday morning, I come to the range and someone sticks a microphone in front of me and asks me, what do you think of the strength of field. I haven't looked at the list to see who is in the field or not or studied it. I have enough things to worry about in my own game besides worrying about who is going to compete.

Q. Usually you do know some of the names that are going to be here.

JIM FURYK: You get a pretty good idea who is going to show up hopefully. We don't see Ernie a lot. You guys probably see Vijay every year and Tiger every year. We get a good, strong field.

For the most part I think we all pick and choose places that we enjoy coming to and courses that we enjoy playing and this would be one of them for me.

Q. Before you were one of the mainstays, every year in the, we've seem to talk about the Presidents Cup or the Ryder Cup because it's getting so close. Before you were one of the mainstays, what were the last couple of three tournaments like when you were trying to make the team? Is there more pressure? When you ask the young guys now some, say there is and some say there isn't. Can you think about when you were trying to make those teams for the first or second times?

JIM FURYK: A lot of times it's how you view it. You know, if you're put in that position where you're 9th, 10th, 11, 12, there's quite a bit of heat because sitting on that bubble, you probably have to finish in the Top 10 and you know, in one of the next three events to secure a spot on the team.

For a guy that says there's not pressure, he's either lying or he's basically viewing it from a positive note; that it's an opportunity, rather than saying, oh, geez, I don't want to fall out. He's viewing it as an opportunity to make the team, and that's probably a good route to take. But, you know, being honest about it and saying I'm feeling a little extra pressure because I want to make the team and being honest.

I think that I finished second one year and I was right on the bubble, I was about 11th coming in on points and I tied for second with DiMarco and that put me gave me enough points to put me on the team. The week before, the PGA, David Toms one. You know, we ended up not playing that year. It's a little nerve wracking because I wanted to be on that team and I was just out of the Top 10 and played poorly in the British Open and I really wanted to be a part of it and I wanted to put a little extra heat on myself to try to compete and play well.

Q. Based on what happened in the Presidents Cup last year, would you be surprised if you didn't play with Tiger?

JIM FURYK: Well, that's kind of a negative way to set up the question. (Laughter) Because if I answer yes, then it's kind of a negative, does that make sense?

I think that Tom will pair us together for at least part of the answers.

Q. But if I asked you if you want to play with Tiger, what are you going to say; no?

JIM FURYK: I would say yes, probably along with the other ten guys that have the opportunity to answer that question.

But what I meant by that is if I answer yes, I would be surprised then it's we're all supposed to be a team together supporting my captain. If he decided not to play us together I would be a little surprised. But I think it will be fine because that's his job.

Q. Can you talk about the importance of making up ground and going low on the par 5s on this course? It seems like you have to really make up some ground there or you're going to lose ground to others.

JIM FURYK: I think you always do. The Amateurs are scared to death to play the par 5s, and the golf pros are licking their chops because we either have a chance to reach them in two or put the ball in position so we have a wedge in our hand so we can get the ball in range for a birdie putt.

The guys that win tournaments and the guys that play well usually attack and play the par 5s very well and are a lot under are par for the week. Guys that have poor weeks usually don't play the par 5s 12 under and have a bad week if, that makes sense. That's part of it.

You have a lot of opportunities here, especially starting out that back nine where you get a wedge in your hand on ten, a wedge on 12, possibly reach 13 with a wedge and possibly drive the green with a wedge on 14, you have a pretty good for the first five holes on the back nine, four of them are very scoreable and right behind that, you have 16. So another par 5.

So you have the ability here if you're putting the ball in the fairway and you're hitting wedge shots, you're going to give yourself a lot of opportunities. But if you approach that from a perspective, like we go to Las Vegas, you have to shoot 25 under and you keep pressing and keep pushing and you're impatient, it's hard to make birdies. You still have to be patient and make good shots and realize that instead of trying force the issue, you're going to jump up and make a couple bogeys and you put yourself even more behind the 8 ball. You just have to go out and play golf and hopefully get a string of birdies and get it going out there a little bit.

Q. You've been in the Top 10, Top 5 pretty consistently in most tournaments for a couple months now, what's going well for you and what's your comfort factor like when you're out there?

JIM FURYK: I think I just I've been working my way around the golf course and my course maintenance, my course management, I just found a way to score every day. I haven't had maybe the best ball striking streak going in the last couple of months, but I've just found a way to kind of keep the ball in play, scrap it out and get the ball up and down when I needed to and knock in a few putts. I've also had days where I hit the ball really well and shot some good numbers.

Sometimes it's hard to put your finger on. You go out some days and hit the ball perfect and hit some good shots and they don't go in and you end up with 70, and other days you kind of scrape it around the golf course and get it up and down here and there and knock in a couple putts and you shoot 68. There's no rhyme or reason you felt better about your game when you shot 70 but just good through periods where you're scoring well and a the last couple of months I've been able to do that.

Q. Playing in the British Open, U.S. Open inaudible do you have a preference for one or the other?

JIM FURYK: No, I'm thinking U.S. Open can change faces a lot and British Open can change faces a lot just on changing courses and different weather conditions but there's some similarities. I would say that the PGA and U.S. Open probably favor my style of game more than Augusta or the British Open. I feel like if I'm playing well, I can compete on all of those different styles.

I haven't done great job of it in the past in the British Open like I've been talking about. But I feel like when I'm playing well and my game is in good shape, I think the U.S. Open, PGA probably can give me a few more opportunities. I feel like the British and Augusta is maybe a little bit more power oriented and but I've still played very well there the last couple of years.


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